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This Day in WWII 5 December 1939 – 1945


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GMCTruckAd-Dec1942.jpg GMC Truck Ad - December 1942

1939: Heavy fighting in Karelia, Finland.

1939: Two Polish submarines escape from the Baltic Sea to join Royal Navy.

Honor%20Blackman1.jpg *Honor Blackman

1940: McGovern's ILP peace amendment is rejected by House of Commons, 341 votes to 4.

1940: The German draft plan for the Invasion of Russia Operation 'Otto' is presented to Hitler.

Honor%20Blackman2.jpg Honor Blackman

1941: Britain declares war on Finland, Hungary and Romania.

1941: With the main forces of Army Group Centre just 19 miles from Moscow, Hitler abandons the offensive for winter and agrees to some local withdrawals to more defensive terrain. Zhukov launches a counter-offensive across the frozen upper Volga in the area of Kalinin, to the northwest of Moscow. He uses Konev's Kalinin Front for the purpose, but despite the severe cold and exhaustion of the German troops, his forces meet severe resistance, with only the 31st Army enjoying any success as it pushed towards Turginovo. Hungary declares war on Britain. Romania declares war on Britain.

RonsonLighterAd-Dec1943.jpg Ronson Lighter Ad - December 1943

1941: In order to mount a final attack on the British forces around Bir El Gobi, Rommel orders the evacuation of the eastern part of the Tobruk perimeter, but the attack fails.

1941: Japanese fleet is officially reported moving south.

1941: The U.S. aircraft carrier Lexington leaves port at Pearl Harbor to deliver planes to Midway Island. It will be absent from Hawaii when the Japanese attack."Enterprise" near Wake; "Saratoga" at San Diego. Also leaving: heavy cruisers Minneapolis and Indianapolis. Carriers in Atlantic: Ranger, Yorktown, Wasp, new Hornet.

Honor%20Blackman3.jpg Honor Blackman

1943: The first Japanese daylight raid on Calcutta is mounted with many reported killed.

1944: The U.S. Third Army advances into Germany along a 30-mile front.

1944: The British Eighth Army takes Ravenna in and cuts the rail link to Bologna.

Honor%20Blackman4.jpg Honor Blackman

1944: Malinovsky attacks with two armies from North East of Budapest and makes a 60-mile advance in eight days.

1945: FIVE TBM Avenger bombers disappear approximately 100 miles off the coast of Florida.

Honor%20Blackman5.jpg Honor Blackman

*Honor Blackman was born was born either 22 August 1926 or 12 December 1927, depending on your source, in Plaistow, Newham, London. Her father Fred was a statistician. Blackman was educated at Ealing Girls' School in west London and trained as an actress at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, after persuading her father that an appropriate birthday gift would be acting lessons. While attending the Guildhall School she also worked as a clerical assistant for the Home Office.

Honor received her first acting work in London's West End as an understudy in the play "The Guinea Pig" and continued on with roles in "The Gleam" in 1946 and "The Blind Goddess" the following year. Films soon became a reality with her debut in "Fame Is the Spur" (1947) starring Michael Redgrave. In this picture, she dies in a horse-riding accident. It was the beginning of a strange pattern for Honor in which many of her movie damsels would meet untimely deaths. Signed up with the Rank Organization, she joined several other starlet hopefuls who were being groomed for better things. She was initially cast as demure, pleasant young things or "English Rose" types and received dependable but unmemorable co-star billing in such films as "Daughter of Darkness" (1948), "Quartet" (1948), "A Boy, a Girl and a Bike" (1949), "So Long at the Fair" (1950) and "Green Grow the Rushes" (1951), the last starring a young Richard Burton. Hollywood also took notice (briefly) when she was cast as the second lead femme in MGM's "Conspirator" (1949) starring Elizabeth Taylor and Robert Taylor.

Following the stress and struggles of advancing her budding career while dealing with a divorce from first husband, Bill Sankey, Honor suffered a nervous collapse in the mid 1950s and was committed for a brief time to a hospital. After regaining her health, she began to rebuild her career with rather obligatory "B" level fare at first. This culminated in a co-starring role in one of the more famous re-tellings of the tragic Titanic tale, "A Night to Remember" (1958) which co-starred Kenneth More and David McCallum. Developing a solid footing again, she filmed "The Square Peg" (1959) with comedian Norman Wisdom and "A Matter of WHO" (1961) with Terry-Thomas. TV series work came her way as well, none more suitable than her role as the leather-clad Mrs. Cathy Gale in the highly popular "The Avengers" (1961) co-starring Patrick Macnee as John Steed. Her incredulous beauty, self-confidence and athletic derring-do not only made her a catch for the men, but helped to inspire the 60s feminist movement. Honor left the show at its peak, however, and was replaced by the equally assertive and popular Diana Rigg as Mrs. Emma Peel.

Honor%20Blackman6.jpg Honor Blackman

Not out of work long, Honor continued with the role of the goddess Hera in the popular Greek odyssey movie adventure "Jason and the Argonauts" (1963), complete with marvelous Ray Harryhausen special effects, and the melodrama "Life at the Top" (1965) with Laurence Harvey. She then filmed the most popular role of her career. As the daunting Pussy Galore in the classic James Bond movie "Goldfinger" (1964), she went toe-to-toe with Sean Connery's womanizing "007" and created major sparks on screen, managing to outclass the (wink-wink) double-meaning of her character's name.

This resurgence of popularity should have led to better films but didn't, toiling for the most part in low-level melodrama and routine adventures. She earned raves on stage, however, as the blind heroine in the thriller "Wait Until Dark" and for her dual roles in "Mr and Mrs," based on two of Noel Coward's plays. She also enjoyed working occasionally with her second husband, actor Maurice Kaufmann, in the play "Move Over, Mrs. Markham" and the film horror thriller "Fright" (1971) with Susan George. On stage she became a throaty-voiced sensation in such musicals as "A Little Night Music," "The Sound of Music," "On Your Toes" and "Nunsense."

Divorced from Kaufmann in 1975, she never remarried (he died in 1997). The couple adopted two children in the late 1960s, Lottie and Barnaby. Now a octogenarian (89), the ever-lovely and still glamorous Honor performs frequently, more recently working in the long running hit comedy series in England "The Upper Hand" (1990) and in her one-woman stage show "Wayward Ladies."


Measurements: 37C-23-35 (Source: Celebrity Sleuth magazine)

Height: 5' 6" (1.68 m)


Maurice Kaufmann (December 1961 - 1975) (divorced) 2 children

Bill Sankey (1946 - 1954) (divorced)

At 38 she was the oldest Bond girl.

VincoCorpAd-Dec1943.jpg Vinco Corporation Ad - December 1943

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